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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Mc Connell Durbin on Iran War Powers  CSPAN  February 12, 2020 11:33pm-11:55pm EST

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united states is not guilty as charged in the second article of impeachment. >> for the third time in history, he president has been impeached and acquitted. from house hearings to the senate trial, c-span has provided comprehensive coverage of the impeachment of president trump. you can find all of our video and related resources at c-span.org/impeachment. next week the senate is taking up the water was resolution introduced by virginia senator tim kane that would limit action against iran. a final vote is expected tomorrow. here is some of the debate from earlier today. >> yesterday the army and the commonwealth of kentucky both received some really great news. secretary of the army brian mccarthy and army chief of staff
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james mcconville announced the four songs will be the headquarters for the new army corps. they stopped by my office last night to discuss the. of the new core will support u.s. forces in operations in europe helping fulfill the requirement of the national edefense strategy. it's expected to bring more than 600 additional soldiers to fort knox. along with senator paul i urged him to select fort knox for the new headquarters and we think they made a great choice. they will join the eight commands already stationed there including the human resources for the could command. i worked for years to make sure they receiven the national attention it deserves it's great to see the army agreed that it
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is perfect for the headquarters and the extraordinary work of the regional development alliance has made it a wonderful place to live and to work. both the servic servicemembers r their families. last year i was proud to host the event secretary in kentucky certainly grateful to him and the general for recognizing our potential. from the junior senator of virginia or colleague's colleags resolution is deeply flawed on a lumber of levels. as i explained yesterday it is an abuse of the act to strike a balance between the president's constitutional war powers and congress war powers oversight
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responsibilities. ume of us believe it went too far undermining the separation of powers and infringing upon he authorities but apart from that, everyone should acknowledge that it was designed to stop vietnam the deployment of thousands of troops into sustained combat without congressional authorization. the one-off uses of limited force the president i. held for centuries until many recognized the need for flexibility with respect to the threat of military force they saw the deterrent effect and diplomatic utility of keeping our open. democratdemocrats said frequentn it comes to iran and we should never take the military option off of the table. now they seek to use this privilege resolution to do precisely that. the collateral institutional damage would fall on our
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military. its ability to operate quickly and to the emerging threats would be jeopardized. if you want to take the truly significant step of taking options off the table for defending the troops come if you want to remove the troops altogether, just be honest about it and make the case. find 60 votes to pass legislation, find 67 votes to override a presidential veto. don't use the war powers resolution to the constitutional structures that makes this a difficult proposition by design. there'there is no ongoing combah respect to iran and the troops are not mired in unending hostilities. the war powers act on the combat operations. it took about 60 seconds.
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we've just come through the impeachment trial because the rescue the serious tool of the political weapon of the first resort. no patients were ordinary oversight just to grab the blunt tool available to make a political statement against the president. this warp our debate bears a resemblance to that pattern. to listen to some of the advocates of the's resolution ia sweeping resolution like this where the only means available to express any discomfort with white house foreign policy. of course that isn't so. the priority is genuine oversighoversight there are cous tools in the toolbox to engage
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the administration directly to the interagency deliberations. instead, mike impeachment, this resolution cut short the interplay between the branches in short circuit and debate. it is overbroad resolution that should pass but is certain to be vetoed if it does. if my colleaguese, want to makea difference, this is not the way to go. the amendment by republican colleagues and i final exposed the shortcomings in risks of this approach. senator cain has the rule of construction that tries to provide an exception allowing u.s. troops to defend themselves against an attack if it is evident. my amendment exposes the absurdity by removing themo word
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imminent. how imminent exactlyou is enoug. when do our men and women in the armed to defend themselves? i'd like to know they need to sit on intelligence until it is a week away or a day away, until they see the lights of the enemy's eyes and who makes the determination about amendments, members of congress, the president, a battlefield commander of some young private. the resolution imposes a new constraint on the military without answering any of these questions. if we have intelligence warnings that an enemy is planning to attack the forces, can we not disrupt until the attack is almost underway. senator kaufman, brown and others filed amendments and proposed additions to give the troops and commanders more confidence we are trying to tie
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their against the threat they might face if iran were to become emboldened enough to attack us and to make sure we can defend our diplomats and if they were to face renewed threats so clearl clearly madame presidenmadampresident this rest ready for prime time. it is an effort to broadcast a political message but even that message would be horrible to the troops and national security. with their leaders authorized to defend them what message should be sent to the regional allies and partners can they count on continued solidarity from the united states and what would we say to the great cover of competitors with russia and china if we cannot even remain united in the face of a lesser challenges such as iran.
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let's keep this misguided resolution. i understand there's a bill at the desk for a second reading. >> at 7235 a bill to amend title 18 united states code to protect capable unborn children and for other purposes. >> to place it on the calendar if further proceeding. >> objection having been heard the bilthat bill will be placede calendar. under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report.
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the judiciary for the district of alaska. last week the senate concluded the impeachment proceeding i heard one of my colleagues say the most serious thing the united states senate has constitutional authority to do. ouat argument could be made that i would disagree. the most serious thing we are assigned under the constitution is the declaration of war because it isn't justr a matter of the political fate of any individual, it is a matter of many good people in america who serveserve in our own forces why be endangered if we decide to go to war even under the best
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circumstances quick and effective war his suggestion i think it really ignores the obvious. it has been 18 years almost 18 years c since congress and the senate have an active debate about the united states engaging in war. i remember that very well because it was debate that consumed the attention of the senate, the house and the nation and whether or not we would invade afghanistan. most of us remember the argument made by the administration for
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the invasion of iraq. we were told there were weapons of mass distraction enough country that could threaten the neighbors of iraq, our allies and even the united states. over and over again we heard that phrase weapons of massns destruction. i was serving on the senate intelligence committee at a time and remember the testimony, classified testimony behind closed doors and i have serious doubts in my mind as to whether they would be established with weapons of mass destruction actually existed and whether or not authorizing the war meant we would just use that as a device toou force iraq into better context for what actually invade their country. as a consequence i joined 22 other senators in voting against the invasion of iraq which we voted on the floor of the senate in 2002.
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22 democrats and one republican voted against the invasion of iraq. i can still remember it, the unfolding events as the troops arrived and made their impact on the nation and eventually took control of iraq. then the search was on for the destructionass which led to the invasion of iraq into the search continued in the days and weeks and mom is without any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. it was a farce on the american public. almost 5,000 americans lost their lives because of our invasion of iraq, but the premise, the pretense that led to that invasion was misleading information from an administration. but at least i will say there
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was a debate. there was a vote on the floor of the united states senate. did anyone at that time to the 18 years ago that we were voting for the war in iraq that would continue for 18 years when the invasion of afghanistan the argument was made and convinced me that virtually every other member of congress that the parties responsible for the tragedy and terror of 9/11 were somehow camped in afghanistan and we needed to go c after isis and all those responsible for the invasion of the united states. i voted for that but i would have to say as well there wasn't a single senator or member of the house relieved 18 years later we would still be at war in afghanistan, yet we are. the president is now talking about removing more troops from afghanistan. we have heard these promises
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before. perhaps it will lead to such a decision by the administration, but the point i'm getting to is the war powers resolution. it addresses the most fundamental question of our constitutional authority and declare war. as senator cain says in this resolution but i'm happy to her, congress has the power to declare war under article one, section eight amendment of the united states constitution. when i heard senator mcconnell come to the floor this morning and argued against the united states senate stepping forward and asserting its constitutional authority, i wondered how does he explain in the commonwealth of kentucky that the we are stil engaged in a war 18 years after there was any vote for an authorization of the use of military force in iraq and afghanistan and the larger
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question senator cain t and i tried to raise the resolution is what does this mean the terms of the future relationship with we know that we have had a rocky contentious relationship and we know that they have engaged with the acts of tourism we know that full well. president obama tried to at least bring some sanity to thet relationshipre by eliminating te ability of the iranian to develop nuclear weapons. we find reprehensible it wouldn't reach the portable thae level of a nuclear confrontati confrontation. i thought the president was right. i supported this effort to
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develop the inspection mechanism where the international inspectors would come into iran and see they were developing weapons report to the world. we engage the countries around the world to join us in this effort to stop the development of nuclear weapons. it was an incredible coalition which included russia and china have joined with us in the european nations to him those that limitation of weapons in iran. i thought it was a move in the right direction to have this international support and yet when president clinton took office, sadly he kept his promise to eliminate the nuclear control agreement between the united states, iran and the other parties. by eliminating a basically gave permission to the iranians to continue in their development of nuclear weapons, yet he warned of the day there was a price to
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pay. the resolution is relevant and why we need to consider what the next step will be because if we are going to stop them from developing a nuclear weapon, and i pray that they will not, how are we going to do that and how much force will be used in response to ask would be authorized by congress? is basically a do-nothing. don't assert the constitutional authority under the constitution when it comes to any declaration of war against iran or any future military divers. he described as a one-off situation and use of force we currently have seen in the targeting of t the general. perhaps it was but we don't know the answer to that. when it happened a few weeks ago there was uncertainty about what could follow and i suppose it's still here to this day the
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impeachment effort came in for the last week if it had been patient he said this is another example of impatience where we are setting up this constitutional responsibility of the administration. if senator mcconnell had the impeachment trial and would have involved evidence, documents and witnesses and get he was impatient to get it over with without any information before the senate. i also would say that patience is a good virtue when it comes to most of life's experiences and if there is a prospect of the war, but with senator cain is doing is inserting the responsibility or the authority i should say of congress is stepped up to be party to the discussions about whether we move beyond the current
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situation to one that involves troops or any territory in iran. i see the senators on the floor and i'm going to defer to him at this moment i will tell you this before i step down. as long as i've been a member of the house and the senate, i felt the congress has a responsibility under the constitution to declare war. it's a responsibility which most members of congress talk about a lot but frankly don't want to face. they don't want to be on the record for or against in terms of a certain foreign-policy decision. regardless, i think the framers of the constitution of the earth stood full well if we are going to ask american families to potentially sacrifice the lives of their sons and daughters in combat and war, they should have a voice and a decision on going and that is what this article in the constitution provides. a voice for the united states public when it comes to the congress as to whether or not we are going to engage in the war
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otherwise we find ourselves in a situation like today et nears after the authorization and use of military forc force in the at under false pretenses continuing a military effort that was never truly authorized. i support senator cain in this effort and i'm glad it's a bipartisan resolution. i will yield the floor. >> late >> later today the senate will begin debate on senator cain's war powerser resolution. presenting president trump from unilaterally escalating military action against iran. the constitution is clear declare war. the president has no authority to enter thele united states ino another endless conflict in the middle east but i fear the strike against the major general last month may bump us into one. with this bipartisan resolution, the senate can assert its

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